THE DIFFERENCE OF POTENTIAL AND INTERACTION
Paul Boyesen (1993) taught the following model when I was studying with him in the 1970s. I am reconstructing it for you as I remember it and in the way I use it in my work. Because I mention it here in a section on Plato’s Symposium, it evidently consists of some aspects of the love relationship.
The basic idea is as follows. An electric current exist only if there is a difference of potential between two poles of opposite charges (+ and -). If the two poles have an identical charge, no current exists between them If the two poles are too strongly opposed, an explosion can possible destroy them both and consequently cancel the difference of potential that created the energy. If two individuals fall madly in love with each other, something very powerful has happened between them. Something facilitated the emergence of this love. In the case of love at first sight, two people fall in love with each other without really knowing each other. From what they were at this moment, love emerged.
This model is particularly relevant with regard to enmeshed couples,45 where each one would like it if there were no conflicts, no disagreements, and no disillusions. They both try to change each other to render their relationship increasingly harmonious. One of the problems with such a couple is that the more they manipulate each other, the less they look like who they were when they fell in love. They progressively move away from who they really are to obtain a relationship that they imagine to be harmonious. The difference in the potential energy of their original identity lessens as they fashion themselves to look more alike, as they develop a common ideology and affect and begin to become a caricature of each other. The first evidence of this leveling of differences is often the loss of sexual activity. The moral of this story is that to want to blend water and soil is to transform a region into an ocean of mud. To create harmony between water and fire is a difficult art, according to Eryximachus, because it requires the creation of an entity that maintains the nature of both water and fire. Such a harmonious accord can only exist if the identity of each remains intact. This is what an enmeshed couple who consults with me has to learn if they want to extract themselves from the muddy emotional, aesthetic, and identity crisis in which they are drowning.